Gerard Klaassens

Gerard_photoGerard Klaassens lives in Limburg, in the South of Holland. He has a B.Ed. in Music Education and has studied solo singing. Since 1993 he has attended all the International Kodâly Seminars at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary where he has attended many solo singing courses led by Dr.János Klézli and Roland Hadju.

Gerard teaches Kodály Musicianship and recorder at the Myouthic Institute for Art and Culture, Thorn and is also a music teacher at the Music Primary Schools of Hout-Blerick, Montfort and Linne. As a conductor, he directs a children’s choir, an adult choir and a concert band; his adult choir have performed in Poland, Vienna, Salzburg and Baden-Baden.

In Holland he is in demand as a lecturer in Primary Music Education and has given workshops on Kodály teaching at the Utrechts Conservatorim. Last August, he was invited to meet the Minister of Education to discuss music education in the South of Holland. Together with Paul Mestrom he has written a method for recorder based on Kodály principles and is now working on a book about music listening.

Gerard has a great interest in multicultural songs and has travelled (and continues to travel) to many different countries to collect songs.

BKA Patron Bob Chilcott

The BKA are pleased to welcome the renowned composer and conductor Bob Chilcott as our new patron.

bobchilcottThe BKA commissioned Bob Chilcott to write a new choral piece for children called “A Tree of Song” for the Kodály Celebration Concert in March 2017. The concert marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Zoltán Kodály and celebrate 50 glorious years since the introduction to Britain of the Kodály approach to music education.

Bob ran a workshop in January for the BKA, featuring “A Tree of Song”. After the workshop the BKA were delighted when Bob agreed to be our newest patron.

Composer and conductor Bob Chilcott is one of the most widely performed composers of choral music in the world. He has a large collection of works published by Oxford University Press which reflects both a wide taste in music styles and a deep commitment to writing music that is singable and communicative. After a career as a singer, and twelve years as a member of The King’s Singers, he turned to conducting, and between 1997 and 2004 conducted the chorus of The Royal College of Music. Since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of The BBC Singers. He has conducted choirs in 30 countries over the last decade, recently in Russia, Canada, USA, Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, and Norway.

See profiles of all the BKA Patrons here

Nicola Gaines

Nicola Gaines_photo

Nicola Gaines, BPhil(Hons), listed Cecchetti, is a specialist performer and teacher of Early Dance.

A graduate of the London College of Dance and Drama, and the Royal Ballet School’s Teachers Training Course, she worked for many years with the late Belinda Quirey MBE. In 1998 she recorded a highly acclaimed video on Baroque dance with Christopher Tudor.

Nicola has worked and performed on numerous educational projects with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She has also led educational projects for the Victoria & Albert Museum and Viva (East of England Orchestra). Nicola has also delivered workshops for EPTA, BKA and the Purcell School of Music

Nicola is the Dance Leader and Administrator for the Early Dance Faculty of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and has taught and demonstrated Early Dance on numerous courses run for dancers and musicians.

Nicola is also a senior teacher for the Junior Associates Scheme at the Royal Ballet School where she is responsible for the use of Early Dance material in the JA training programme and performances.

Kodály 4 All

Fleet, Hampshire

Two twilight sessions (4 – 6.30) on the application of the Kodály principles to classroom music teaching (Early Childhood and Primary – easily adapted for instrumental use)

Tutor: Len Tyler

Location: Court Moor School, Spring Woods, Fleet, GU52 7RY

Part 1: Wednesday 11th January 2017 from 16:00 to 18:30
Part 2: Wednesday 18th January 2017 from 16:00 to 18:30
Single session attendance by arrangement. Priority give to those attending both sessions.

Who is this workshop for?
Anyone interested in classroom music teaching (preschool and primary). There is no need to be a music reader. This workshop is also suitable for instrumental teachers who want learn the Kodaly principles. Very useful for “whole class” teaching.

What will the workshop include?

  • Use of the basic Kodaly principles
  • Lots of songs, routines, and handouts
  • Examples of easy to produce resources
  • Loads of practical ideas (all tried and tested)

Comments from previous delegates

  • Everything was marvelous and extremely useful
  • All very exciting as my first experience of music teacher training. Loved the practical exercises
  • Having done pre-school music for the last 10 years, and being a professional musician there were surprisingly quite a few things that I hadn’t thought about
  • So many great ideas. It was all useful to me
  • Len was excellent in how he explained the course. Good to listen to and very precise. I enjoyed it immensely.
  • I found Len very inspiring and helpful.

Download the Kodály 4 All Flyer

To register your interest or book a place
Contact: Theresa
Phone: 01276 504666

This workshop has been set up specifically to support classroom teachers in preschools and primary schools in Fleet (Hants) and the surrounding area and is open to all in both the state and private sector. While there is no need to be a music reader to attend this workshop there will be plenty for the music specialist. As the Kodály principles are easy to see in early years and primary this workshop is ideal for any instrumental teacher wanting to find out how this approach works. The composer Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967) discovered that music education in his native Hungary was not good, and certainly not as he had personally experienced music as a child. As a result he set out to improve things by seeking out “best practice” around Europe while travelling as a professional musician/composer. It was in 1964 that the Incorporated Society of Music Educators held their annual conference in Budapest. At that event the world saw for the first time the great benefits of music the education system in Hungary. There are now Kodály organisations in many countries including USA, Canada, Australia, UK and of course Hungary.

Borbála Szirányi

Borbála Szirányi graduated in music education and choral conducting at the Liszt Academy of Music in 1997. In her final academic year, she participated in Professor Peter Erdei’s conducting master course in Oxford.

From 1996 to 2015 she worked at the music school of the Hungarian State Opera House Children’s Choir as classroom music teacher and choir conductor. In 1999 she conducted demonstration lessons for the Kodály Institute.

Since 2000 she has regularly taught as a visiting professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where the Kodály programme was launched under her direction. The Conservatory’s female choir and mixed choir were founded with her guidance. They performed several concerts with both Western European and Chinese programmes, worked together with the Chinese conductor, Muhai Tang and released a CD.

In 2000 she was a visiting professor on the Kodály programme at the Holy Names College in Oakland, California. She has conducted Kodály courses in Shanghai (2001), Canton, (2005, 2006), Dublin (2013, 2014), Singapore (2013, 2014) Wales (2015, 2016) and Bucharest (2016).

In 2010, she conducted a choir workshop for the Hong Kong Treble Choir.

Since 2010 she has worked as a teacher at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and she regularly directs post-graduate courses for Hungarian music teachers. Since 2014 she has also taught at the Kós Károly Általános Iskola as part of the Mintaiskola project led by the Liszt Academy of Music. In this project she and her colleagues experiment with new music methodological techniques based on the Kodály concept in order to refresh and renew Hungarian music pedagogy, making it more adaptable to the 21 st century classroom.

Laurel Swift

Laurel will present an fun and interactive introduction to Cotswold Morris Dance, the most graceful, dynamic and complex of the Morris Dance forms alive in England today. Morris Dancing has easy-to-grasp structures, which are filled with a vocabulary of steps and arm movements distinctive to each “tradition”, and a number of figures and group movements shared between traditions. We will learn one or two accessible dances and explore the musicality of the form.

Laurel Swift is an inspiring instigator of creative new projects and performances rooted in the folk arts.  Laurel has choreographed and devised national touring dance productions for Morris Offspring, co-created and performed Under Her Skin with Debs Newbold, advised theatre & film companies on using folk music and dance material, performed and taught at festivals in the UK and America, founded an organisation to develop youth folk arts projects, teaches and contributes to education projects in London and nationally, and regularly performs with her acts including Ben Moss, Gadarene and The Gloworms.

Photo Credit (Ian Anderson, fRoots)

Ralph Allwood MBE

Ralph Allwood MBE was for 26 years Director of Music at Eton College and is now a freelance choral director. He is the Director of the Eton Choral Courses, which he founded in 1980. Seven thousand 16 to 20 year olds have been students on courses over the last thirty-five years. He co-founded the Junior Choral Courses in 2012, and is now planning courses in Shanghai, Melbourne and Greenwich, Connecticut. The Rodolfus choir, made up of the best singers from the courses, has been described as ‘unspeakably beautiful’ by Gramophone. It has produced over 20 CDs.

Ralph is a founder and conductor of Inner Voices, a choir made up of singers from state schools in London. He has conducted choirs for 40 live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, is a judge for the Llangollen Eisteddfod and Cork International Choral Competition and has written much music heard worldwide on radio and television.

Ralph adjudicates the Llangollen Eisteddfod and the Cork International Choral Competition. He is a Fellow Commoner advising in music at Music at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Durham. He is Choral Advisor to Novello, Wellington College and Trinity College, Oxford. He teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and at his old school, Tiffin.

In 2012 Ralph was awarded a Doctorate of Music by Aberdeen University. He was made MBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list.

Jacqueline Vann

Jacqueline VannDalcroze: using movement in Aural Training
Jacqueline’s afternoon workshop at the Kodály Summer School 2017

This session will look at some of the ways movement is used within the context of an aural training session. Sometimes as an expressive tool, sometimes as a quick reaction game, sometimes as a means of engaging more with the music and sometimes to show the music in space. The class will include games and exercises to do with melody, intervals, chords, harmony and much more.

About Dalcroze: Exploring the language of music through movement
From pulse to rhythm, bar time to phrasing, form and structure the language of music can be explored creatively through movement. There are many benefits to doing this:
– the body learns to feel the music and becomes a musical instrument in itself
– we learn how to use the body effectively
– because we learn to feel music more deeply this helps us when we perform
– we learn many additional skills such as reacting quickly, being well coordinated, learning to actively listen
– we work on our own and in pairs and as a group and learn to cooperate and communicate well
It is a way of learning music that has great value for young and old, amateur and professional, singers and players and much more.

Jacqueline Vann studied Dalcroze Eurhythmics at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Geneva from 1994 to 1997. She is Deputy Director of Studies in the UK and is also responsible for the Dalcroze children’s examinations. She is a freelance Dalcroze teacher working with adults, seniors, musicians and non-musicians, children of all ages as well as those with Specific Learning Difficulties. She teaches regularly on the Dalcroze International Summer School and Easter Course as well as the UK’s Foundation, Intermediate, Certificate and Licence training courses.
She gives regular Dalcroze workshops around the country and has taught in Italy, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, South Korea and Australia.

In 2013, to celebrate the centenary of the London School of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, she gave two papers at the first International Conference of Dalcroze Studies – one on the Dalcroze Children’s Exams and another on the benefits of using Dalcroze to teach children with Specific Learning Difficulties.

Jacqueline now lives in the South West of England. She teaches with Exeter Young Strings, JUTP Music and is currently setting up Dalcroze training at the University of Exeter. She lives on Dartmoor where she also breeds sheep, keeps chickens and pursues another of her passions – horse riding.

Claire McCue

Claire McCue

Take time to breathe
Claire’s afternoon workshop at the Kodály Summer School 2017

On a ten day BKA course, when there will be so much to take in, take time out in this gentle movement and relaxation session. Through mindful movement, simple stretches to ease tight muscles, breathing, and the chance to simply relax and re-focus, you will also be able to take away some more ideas for relaxation through movement, mindfulness, music and meditation for the future.

Claire McCue is a composer, piano teacher and music educator based in Glasgow, also with a background and qualification in Dance teaching, the result of a much-loved hobby. After a “slight diversion” by way of a BSC(Hons) in Maths, Statistics and Management Science, she studied for a BA in Applied Music at Strathclyde University then, after a few years teaching (and discovering Kodaly!), gained a Masters in Composition (Distinction) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The Kodaly journey has never stopped since, nor has the composition or love of dance and use of movement in her teaching.

Claire delivers regular musicianship sessions across a range of ages for the RCS Junior Conservatoire and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus and has co-led an early years training programme for nurseries and Youth Music Initiative tutors for YMI Falkirk Council over the last two years. She teaches piano for RCS early years and privately, and does some workshops for the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS).

Her compositions and collaborations have won various prizes, been broadcast on BBC radio 3 and performed internationally, and recently she enjoyed combining composition/education worlds in writing some new pentatonic songs for NYCoS. She looks forward to meeting new and familiar faces at the next BKA Summer School.


How Can I Keep From Singing!

How Can I Keep From Singing! – The BKA Songbook

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Middle School and Sunday School, early years and teenage boys, wheel-chair circle games and preparation for country dancing, adult community choirs and ethnically mixed classes, warm-ups in instrumental lessons and brilliant material for over a thousand young voices….. here are the thoughts of BKA members on the practical application of How Can I Keep From Singing!

Fiona Gaffney (Darlington):
Finding Kodály was the most important moment in my teaching career. After my initial Kodály training I discovered that there were few teaching resources available, until ten years ago, when the BKA Songbook was published. It has proved to be invaluable, providing inspiration and guidance to all practising Kodály teachers.

Anna Myatt (York):
I use the Songbook a lot with children’s Choirs. Last year I used Way down Yonder in the Corn Fields (p. 29) in my Big Sing in Rotherham – we had 1200 children singing it, 600 to a part! I like it because not only is it a good tune to remember and sing, but easy for part singing as one part has a held note. Also, the children love making up other verses with different animals to substitute in the last line: “Have you ever seen a pig putting on a wig?” and “Have you ever seen a sheep with Little Bo-Peep?”

This year I have found Mr Scarf’s Action Round (p. 37) to be very successful with both an adult community choir and children. We add in the actions one by one, sing in 2 parts, then leave out the actions one by one until you have only the R chest tapping on the off-beat very quietly.

Jacky Hintze (Edenbridge, Kent):
Ba-nu-wa (p.71): I have performed this charming African song with a small mixed choir, gradually building up from a single voice to a crescendo in the full 9 parts. The piece is easy to learn, as each part is repeated, yet the combination of voices produces beautiful harmonies, making it very suitable for performance. On some occasions we have dropped back in stages to a final solo; at other times, we have ended dramatically following the crescendo. As the book suggests, it also offers the chance for young lads whose voices were changing to play a full and active role by taking on the rhythmic Part 5. Always a firm favourite!

Senua de Dende (p.17): This is a good warm-up with a small local choir, to encourage accurate pitching in steps, with an octave jump thrown in for good measure. I have also used it with a mixed age group in Sunday School, adapting the words to “Jesus, the Saviour, praise Him!” We moved in a circle as we sang, with simple accompanying movements for each phrase. This meant the group picked it up effortlessly through repetition without the need for explicit teaching, although the structure of the song allowed the children to ‘feel’ the individual phrases, which could be made conscious at a later stage.

Love Somebody (p.2): This works very well with children in Early Years, especially to celebrate the Valentine season! The words and melody are simple enough to be readily assimilated during the game, which means that young children are soon joining in. The game can be adapted to suit individual abilities – eg, with a child walking or skipping round the circle – and at varying tempo. I have also used it at a special school for children with cerebral palsy, giving them the chance to move around the circle in their wheelchairs, singing at a gentle pace, allowing time to manoeuvre the chairs.

Christine Wrigley (Bedford):
I have enjoyed using so many of the songs. The book is targeted at age 8-13, precisely the range I was working with when I taught flute at my local state Middle School. I was grateful for material ideally suited to both age and stage of development of the children, therefore making my job so much easier.

Mosquito Song (p. 47): I taught this by rote to all my flute pupils. Eah pupil played it at the beginning of every lesson for two terms. They came to know and love the overarching A A B Bv structure, with its internal melodic and rhythmic repetitions, shapes and variations. By using the note A as la, the children practised the tricky flute finger pattern E,D,C in both falling and rising form – without me even mentioning the words “technical exercise”.

All 24 pupils attended a weekly flute group and we played it in various ways: in canon at 2-beats’ distance, at 1-beat’s distance, in the low register, in the high register, individually, in pairs or larger groups. The real beginners joined in slowly, in augmentation, while the ones who thought that the only way to play an instrument was fast, could test themselves by playing quickly, in diminution. This really motivated them all to hold the ensemble together, so they LISTENED and CONCENTRATED – again without me even having to mention the words! The highlight was performing it as a four-part canon at the school concert – from memory of course! The Head said afterwards that it had been his favourite item.

Ma, Ma, will you buy me a banana? (p. 24): I can see a happy picture – the class of thirty ethnically- and ability-mixed year 4 children from a socially deprived part of town. They stand in two rows facing each other, one line singing the child’s part and the other the part of the hounded Mama, who not only has to buy the banana, but also peel its skin before her offspring eventually offers her a bite. My brief was to teach the whole class to play the recorder, and the children sang this question and answer song with real understanding and gusto. This ‘Wider Opportunities’ project proved to be an impossible mission, but when I heard those children singing with such joy about bananas, I knew that I’d taught them something much more precious than how to finger a B.

Roderick Elmer – St. Monica’s Catholic Primary School, Southgate, N. London:
I find it an extremely useful song-book. There are a few songs I use all the time, but when I try a new song I invariably find that it is a “hit” with the pupils as well. We have many Irish children in my school and they enjoy singing Jug of Punch (p.93). Although it has lots of words we are gradually learning them all by memory.      

When we sing As I was walking down the street (p.45) I divide the Year 3 class into pairs around the hall and they act the song. Each pair starts from far apart, and they walk towards one another, meeting and shaking hands on the word “meet”. In the second half of the song they skip around together. We have also performed the dance as a preparation for other country dances.

Celia Cviic (Wimbledon, London):
Missa Ram Goat  (p. 23): This song never fails to please and engage singers, young and old. Its educational value – introducing, understanding, and consolidating the syncopa rhythm – is underpinned by many other useful attributes. These include the catchy rhythm, opportunities for two-part-singing, both simple and more complex, and the challenge of being able to sing and perform the syncopa at the same time – and the sheer enjoyment generated by the song itself.

The Diamond  (p. 98): This has a very strong melody and real-life subject matter, which engage children and adults alike. It can stand alone without any accompaniment or second part, and is very useful in workshop situations where encouragement to sing with vigour and good articulation is a prime concern

Len Tyler (Camberley):
I have chosen Duck Dance (p. 43) – a fantastic opportunity for movement improvisation and circle dance. I use it with age 6/7 and up. A very simple way to point up the syncopa rhythm is for children to sing the song as they walk in a big circle, and enjoy clapping the rhythm of 2nd, 4th and 6th bar.  It is great fun done in two circles and works really well in canon at one bar interval, added to which it’s a terrific song for experiencing ‘triola’ in the last line!

Margaret Oliver (Coventry):
Although I am now retired from teaching, I still find the book a useful resource. As current BKA bookstore manager, I often have to advise students and customers about the books we sell. I recently discovered Searching for Lambs (p. 95) a gorgeous flowing folk-song in the natural minor, in answer to a need for a piece in 5/4 time. The song closely follows speech rhythms, which gives the 5/4 a really natural feel. One customer asked why the song has a 3/4 bar in the middle. Again I feel this answers the narrative at that point in the verse, where the story needs to move on quicker.

Natasha Thompson (Towcester):
I come back to the BKA Songbook time and time again with my children’s and adult choirs – I have two copies as I never want to be with out one! It is packed full of tried and tested songs with lots of suggestions on how to use, teach, and perform them, and even how to add movement. Each song is a gem – it’s always worth having another look in the book, as you never know what you might discover. The indexing at the back is invaluable, instantly giving the information you require about each song.

One of my favourites is Christmas Round  (p.13). Sung very rhythmically, you can use it as a vehicle for gospel-style improvisation – add harmonies, even move it up a semitone for repeats. I also love Si, Si, Si (p. 69), such a joy to sing with a real ‘feel-good’ factor. Li’l Liza Jane  (p. 60) is a gem with my new adult choir. I give a verse to the men, a verse to the ladies, and as they get more experienced, gradually get the ostinatos going, adding them one by one.

Cyrilla Rowsell (Croydon):
Viva la musica (p.19) is always a favourite. I used it with my school choir for our performance at the Festival Hall for the Music for Youth Finals. The adjudicator didn’t hear me very quietly giving the starting pitch, and was amazed that everyone came in together on the right note! Everybody loves singing Hashivenu (p.70), a beautiful Hebrew song and a good example of the natural minor. Ha Ha Ha (p. 67) is great for teaching the major triad – I usually do it just in solfa, not the words.

One of my own favourites is Bird of Heaven (p. 54), which I sing regularly with a small Quaker singing group I lead once a month in Cambridge. It was such a pity we couldn’t include a recording of it on the CD as it is copyright.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this article. It gives us all much inspiration and great practical ideas. Miraculously not one person has chosen the same song as anyone else! It’s wonderful to hear that the BKA Songbook still has solutions for all occasions.

Celia Waterhouse
(Songbook Editor)

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